England name uncapped Ollie Robinson and James Bracey in squad for New Zealand Tests

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James Bracey and Ollie Robinson look set to graduate from 12th man duties with England (Getty Images)
James Bracey and Ollie Robinson look set to graduate from 12th man duties with England (Getty Images)

England have named two uncapped players, Sussex quick Ollie Robinson and Gloucestershire batter James Bracey, in their 15-man squad for the two-Test series against New Zealand next month.

The pair are yet to play international cricket but are not new to the setup, having been involved in England squads – expanded due to Covid-19 – over the last year.

Chris Silverwood, newly in charge of selection as well as coaching, has named the duo in his first squad, where there is a recall for Craig Overton, the Somerset bowler. Ben Foakes and Dan Lawrence are in line for home debuts.

England are missing a raft of players. Some – such as Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran – are fresh out of quarantine following their return from the IPL, and therefore rested. Silverwood said he wanted them to have “an extended break” to “recharge mentally”.

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are out injured. The ECB expressed a hope that Stokes would overcome his broken finger to play T20 for Durham next month, while Archer will see a specialist about his elbow this week.

Robinson has 195 first-class wickets at 17 since the start of the 2018 season, while Bracey has made a strong start to this season, averaging 53 for high-flying Gloucestershire.

“They have been consistent performers in the County Championship this season and over the past 18 months, have excelled for the Lions on the field and in the various camps they have been involved in,” said Silverwood.

“Having spent all winter and last summer in the company of our established Test players, they have immersed themselves in preparing and understanding what it takes to play at this level. The environment and culture will be something they are used to, and should they be in a position to make their Test debuts, they will be ready to showcase their skills.

“They are both resilient characters and have demonstrated to me, the captain and coaches that they have the desire, temperament and the ability to continually improve to give themselves every chance of succeeding on the international stage.”

Robinson and Overton will compete with the veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad and the quicks, Olly Stone and Mark Wood, for a place in England’s seam attack.

Jack Leach provides the sole spin option, with Dom Bess and Matt Parkinson left to play for their counties.

Bracey’s hopes of a debut may hinge on Dom Sibley’s fitness. He is named in the squad after overcoming a broken finger, and will play for Warwickshire in the County Championship from Thursday.

England: Root (c), Anderson, Bracey, Broad, Burns, Crawley, Foakes, Lawrence, Leach, C.Overton, Pope, Robinson, Sibley, Stone, Wood.

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